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Bush in Brazil and Ethanol: Blogs Report and Debate

Bush in Sao Paulo


“We have alcohol to give away and sell”
– ethanol molotov for yankee target – source: CMI Brasil

The quick visit of the US President George W. Bush to Brazil last week brought forth a large and diverse reaction from the local blogosphere. The protests and demonstrations on Paulista Avenue [reported by David Sasaki] were initially the most emphasised aspects of the coverage, but as we will see below, other perspectives are being presented and debated. The biofuel cooperation agreement which turned out to be the main agenda of the visit has itself influenced the mood of the online conversation, and suddenly many commenters found out interesting new threads to explore other than the usual Bush bashing. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has once again managed to be a protagonist — even from a distance — by making his histrionic performances as available as possible in the media, but we can see a growing number of Brazilian blogs asking for a more pragmatic ideology-free approach in the foreign affairs with the US in particular and with the world in general. Lula seems to be hearing those voices as well.

No meio de tanto transtorno, como pudemos perceber pelos jornais impressos e televisivos, percebi algumas incoerências… Impressionante ver brasileiros indo às ruas queimar bonecos representando tal presidente, tacar pedras e paus em seus compatriotas (os guardas) e incitar a raiva aqui (No Brasil?) e fazer manifestações com faixa sobre as atrocidades das guerras contra o Iraque, Afeganistão e as divergências claras com nossa vizinha Venezuela… Acho que se tal presidente veio ao nosso país fazer negócios, deveríamos aplaudir e incentivar tal ação… Deveríamos deixar para gastar nosso tempo e forçar para lutar pelo nosso país, e não contra esse Presidente. Ninguém vê nos Estados Unidos ou Europa passeatas contra a Fome e o Desemprego no Brasil…Vamos cuidar do que é nosso para um dia poder pensar em ajudar alguém, ao invés de ficarmos como xiitas sem bandeira, que além que retrógrado expõem a ignorância do povo. Abraço à todos e aproveitando a visita do grindo, Open your mind!
Xiitas sem bandeira – Carlos M. Cunha Blog

In the middle of such disturbance, as we could read in printed newspapers and also see on the TV news, I could notice some incoherences…. I was impressed to see Brazilians on the streets burning effigies representing the mentioned President, throwing stones and wood sticks at their compatriots (the guards) and stirring up anger around here (in Brazil?) by protesting and demonstrating with banners about the atrocities of Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and about the differences with neighboring Venezuela…. I think that if the mentioned President came to our country to do business, we should applaud and support his move…. We should save our time and energy to act in favor of our country, and not against that President. No one will see in the US or in Europe any demonstration against hunger and unemployment in Brazil…. Let's take care of what is ours so that we can someday be able to help others, instead of acting as old-fashioned radicals with no flags. Hugs to all, and taking advantage of the gringo's visit: ‘Open your mind!’
Radicals with no flagsCarlos M. Cunha Blog

É uma pena que esses sejam os “opositores” de Bush. Quando queimam a bandeira americana, essa esquerda não quer queimar a bandeira do capitalismo, ela quer queimar a bandeira da democracia americana, que é uma democracia que funciona. Por isso, não há nenhuma simpatia minha pelos idiotas que estiveram hoje na Av. Paulista. Fiquei com vergonha da cidade hoje, vergonha de ser mostrado no mundo como paulistano, de ver aquele tontos ali, protestando contra o nada, contra o que não possuem a mínima idéia do que é, pois não sabem o que é os Estados Unidos. É uma juventude tola, induzida por “adultos” cujos interesses são sombrios.
Por um amadurecimento político no BrasilNotas de Maurício C. Serafim

It's a pity that those are the ones opposing Bush. When they burn the American flag, this kind of left dosen't want to burn the flag of capitalism, but instead they want to burn the flag of the American democracy, which is one that really works. That's why I don't sympathize with those idiots that were on Paulista Avenue today. I got ashamed for the city today, ashamed of being shown to the world as a local. Ashamed of seeing those fools there, protesting against nothing, fighting something they don't really know, because they have no idea what the US really is. Those are foolish young persons, led by grown-ups with a shady agenda.
For a political maturity in BrazilNotas de Maurício C. Serafim

Ninguém tem dúvida de que a eleição de Bush e a ascensão dessa quadrilha religiosa ao poder dos Estados Unidos foi prejudicial para todo o planeta, em todos os sentidos. O que devemos começar a ser é pragmáticos e pensar no país: se Bush trouxe alguma boa proposta de acordos comerciais (piada, claro), ótimo. Se não, beba uma cerveja com Lula e volte para casa cuidar do Iraque. Mas não dá para acreditar que em 2007 ainda continuemos culpando “o imperialismo mau” pela nossa incompetência e pela nossa corrupção. A América Latina se tornou uma caricatura que envergonha a todos nós. Enquanto queimamos bandeiras, bonecos e baseados, países da Ásia se desenvolvem sem chorar as pitangas para ninguém. Enquanto a esquerda recreativa faz gincana em frente ao McDonalds e a direita ignorante rouba, a dona Esmeralda segue vivendo num barraco ao lado do Hotel Hilton.
Da nossa eterna hipocrisiaA nova corja

No one doubts that Bush's election and the ascension of his religious gang to power in the US was a bad thing for the whole planet, in all ways. But we should start being practical and thinking about our own country: if Bush has brought any good deal in terms for commercial agreements (a joke, obviously), that's good. If not, just have a beer with Lula and go home to take care of Iraq. It is just unbelievable that in 2007 we are still blaming the “evil imperialist” for our own incompetence and corruption. Latin America has turned into a caricature that brings shame to all of us. While we burn flags, banners and joints, Asian countries are managing their development without complaining about their weaknesses. While the festive left is partying in front of a McDonald's store, and the ignorant right steals, Ms Emerald will keep living in a slum aside the Hilton Hotel.
About our eternal hypocrisyA nova corja


The different thing about
this particular visit of an American President to the country is that for the first time in Brazil's history we have the lead in a technology which has become a strategic asset in a world searching for alternative fuel solutions. It gets better still, when we consider that the rest of the countries (except the US) are very far behind. Thinking about the advantage and studying how to make good use of it looks like an important thread to be explored from now on.

From another perspective, I think we could say that the agreement on biofuels with Brazil can turn out to be a political rescue for an American President with a poor record on environmental issues. Many of his critics consider Bush's fixation on oil to be the main cause of his biggest mistakes in the White House, and the sudden move toward biofuels can signal a change of course in his second term. Indeed, Hugo Chávez may be thinking now how convenient it is to the US to develop a partnership with Brazil where the outcome is the global empowerment of a direct competitor [ethanol] to the Bolivarian revolution's main asset [Venezuelan oil]. But still, the economic and environmental issues of a large scale global experiment on biofuels are yet to be addressed and specialists know well how the political dispute is capable of overshadowing the technical approach.

Em visita oficial à Argentina, o presidente venezuelano, Hugo Chávez, faz, desde ontem (8), uma série de críticas à visita do presidente norte-americano, George W. Bush, à América Latina. Para Chávez, o plano dos Estados Unidos de difundir a produção de etanol é “irracional e antiético”. “Pretender substituir a produção de alimentos para animais e seres humanos pela produção de alimentos para veículos para dar sustentação ao american style of life é uma coisa de loucos”, disse ele. Com esse objetivo, segundo o venezuelano, “Bush anda buscando países com grandes extensões agrícolas e com água, como Argentina, Brasil, Índia e China.” Para Chávez, Bush mereceria uma “medalha” por sua “hipocrisia”. “O cavalheiro do norte descobriu a pobreza na América Latina”, ironizou ele, em alusão a uma das justificativas que vêm sendo dadas por Bush para seu plano de difundir o etanol. “Eu creio que é preciso dar ao presidente dos Estados Unidos a medalha da hipocrisia por ter dito que está preocupado com a pobreza na América Latina.”
Chávez enlouquece e diz que produção de Etanol é antiéticoAcerto de Contas

In an official visit to Argentina, the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has been making a series of criticisms of the visit of the US President George W. Bush to Latin America. According to Chávez's point of view, the American plan to spread ethanol production is ‘irrational and unethical’. ‘It is crazy to imagine food production to animals and human beings being replaced by the production of food for vehicles in order to support the American way of life’, he said. This would be the reason why ‘Bush is searching for countries with large cultivatable lands with plenty of water, such as Argentina, Brazil, India and China’. Chavez says that Bush deserves a medal for his hypocrisy. ‘The gentleman from the North has discovered poverty in Latin America’, he mocked referring to one of the reasons Bush is using to justify his plan to develop the ethanol. ‘I believe that we ought give to the President of the United States the hypocrisy medal for his remarks about being worried with poverty in Latin America’.
Chávez goes nuts and says that ethanol production is unethicalAcerto de Contas

“se o Bush baixar as taxas para o etanol brasileiro, e se o Japão também se firmar como grande importador do combustível, há grandes chances da tese deste artigo se comprovar. Já há grandes grupos internacionais comprando usinas de álcool aqui no Brasil. Se for mais lucrativo plantar cana, então a área cultivada para os alimentos diminuirá. Menos oferta de alimentos, puxa o preço para cima.” Será então que a cruzada pró-biocombustível seria, na contramão, um anti-Fome Zero? Seria o Fome Máxima? Não sei até que ponto isso é alarmismo, má-fé, paranóia ou mistificação.
Paranóia, mistificação e delirium tremensFutebol, política e cachaça

“if Bush lowers the tariffs on the Brazilian ethanol, and if Japan also confirms the trend by becoming a great importer of the fuel, there are chances that our thesis gets confirmed. There are already big international groups buying alcohol industrial plants here in Brazil. If it gets more rewarding to work with sugar cane, then the area for food farming will diminish. Less food offered will raise the prices”. Could we say that the biofuel crusade can turn out being a anti-Fome Zero? [Lula's hunger eradication program] Could it turn into Maximum Hunger? I really can't say if this is alarmism, paranoia or just mystification.
Paranoia, mystification and delirium tremensFutebol, política e cachaça

Há quem avalie que o País só tem algo a ganhar se o acesso do álcool obtido à base de cana-de-açúcar ao mercado norte-americano, onde o produto é feito a partir do milho, for facilitado. Trata-se de uma meia-verdade. De fato, a redução dos impostos exigidos quando o produto entra no mercado americano, o principal pleito brasileiro, permitiria um aumento das exportações. Mas a produção brasileira está longe de ser grande o bastante para saciar a demanda potencial dos EUA por etanol, e o que dirá as necessidades do restante do mundo. Parcerias na área de desenvolvimento de novos processos para fabricar biocombustíveis – com o uso de resíduos vegetais, por exemplo – podem ser até mais bem-vindas do que um corte nas tarifas. Os estudos representam a diferença entre criar mais vagas para cientistas e pesquisadores ou apenas aumentar o recrutamento de cortadores de cana-de-açúcar – a parcela menos qualificada dos trabalhadores da cadeia de produção. Os resultados desses esforços podem permitir aproveitar melhor as vantagens naturais só encontradas abaixo da linha do equador.
Jogo Pesado no TanqueDesabafo Brasil

There are some people saying that the country wins only if Brazilian alcohol gets facilitated in its access to the US ethanol market, where the fuel is extracted from the corn. But it is just a half truth. It is true that the tarrif reduction, which is the main Brazilian demand in the current talks, would allow a substantial growth in exports. But the Brazilian production is far from being big enough to fulfill the potential US demand for ethanol, not to say about the rest of the world. Partnerships in the development of new methods to extract biofuels — using vegetable residues, for example — can be more interesting than a cut in tariffs. The research can mean the difference between creating more posts for scientists and researchers or just recruiting more sugar cane cutters — the less qualified group of workers in the production chain. The results of these efforts can allow a better use of the natural advantages that we can only find under the Equator line.
Hard game in the tankDesabafo Brasil

Então não é que o sacana do Bush, sim, o das petrolíferas, o inimigo declarado do planeta, quer diminuir a dependência do petróleo, reduzindo à pobreza os povos oprimidos que o vendem, como a Venezuela, o Irão, Angola, etc? E de caminho fazer subir o preço da cana do açúcar e do milho, condenando à fome milhões de desapossados e fazendo aumentar o preço da cachaça e das pipocas. O homem é diabólico e a sua cabeça está sempre a congeminar maldades. Felizmente temos símios à solta nas ruas, a fazer cabriolas indignadas para o “denunciar”, superiormente orientados pelo supremo tiranossauro de Caracas. Abaixo o ethanol, viva o petróleo “bolivariano”! Ethanol é reaccionário, petróleo é revolucionário!
Abaixo o etanol e o BushO Triunfo dos Porcos

So Bush, the f*****, yes, that one from the oil companies, the declared enemy of the whole planet, now wants to decrease his dependency on oil, condemning to poverty the oppressed countries who sell it, like Venezuela, Iran, Angola, etc.? And as a consequence will raise the prices of the sugar cane and of the corn, sentencing millions of have-nots to hunger, also directly influencing the price of ‘cachaça’ [the popular alcohol drink] and popcorn. The man is diabolic and his head is always developing atrocious plans. Happily we still have those simians on the streets ready to denounce him, superiorly oriented by the supreme tyrannosaur from Caracas. NO to the ethanol, HAIL to the ‘Bolivarian’ oil! Ethanol is reactionary, petroleum is revolutionary!
Down with ethanol and BushO Triunfo dos Porcos


In the middle of all this
we see President Lula each day looking more comfortable about the challenges of his second term, both in terms of domestic and foreign issues. The polls are sending continuous positive signs, in spite of a local media that is always ready to criticize his every move. It appears that the recent hot debate about the anti-American ideology practiced in the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now old dead news.

Pesquisa do Instituto Ipsos revela que o presidente Lula é o chefe de Estado mais bem avaliado e George W. Bush, o mais rejeitado, na opinião dos cidadãos da América Latina. Segundo o jornal O Estado de S. Paulo, que teve acesso ao relatório da pesquisa, o instituto concluiu que Bush está “tomando emprestada” a popularidade de Lula para marcar presença no continente. O estudo revela que Lula tem um saldo (imagem positiva menos imagem negativa) de 36 pontos porcentuais no Brasil, 39 na Bolívia e 37 no Peru, enquanto Bush tem saldo negativo de 43 na Bolívia, 55 no Brasil e 3 no Peru. Lula e Bush têm, respectivamente, 55% e 32% de aprovação entre seus eleitores.
BBB de fatoBlog do Roberto Leite

An Ipsos Institute poll revealed that President Lula is the more favorably evaluated Chief of State, and George W. Bush the more rejected in the opinion of Latin American citizens. According to ‘O Estado de S. Paulo’, which had access to poll's report, the Institute concluded that Bush is ‘borrowing’ Lula's popularity in order to enlarge his presence in the continent. The poll reveals that Lula has a surplus (positive image minus negative image) of 36% in Brazil, 39% in Bolivia and 37% in Peru, while Bush has negative numbers everywhere: -43% in Bolivia, -55% in Brazil and -3% in Peru. Lula and Bush have, respectively, 55% and 32% of approval among their own voters.
Real BBBBlog do Roberto Leite

Estão aí, escancarados, todos os sinais de que a política externa no segundo governo Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sofreu um ajuste fino em relação ao primeiro quadriênio. Errou quem acreditou estar em alta no Itamaraty um suposto antiamericanismo (maior do que o habitual na instituição). O que se passa é o contrário. É uma aproximação estratégica com os Estados Unidos. O primeiro sinal foi a adesão imediata do Brasil ao conjunto de países que sancionaram o Irã por afrontar as determinações da ONU sobre o programa nuclear iraniano. Agora, vem o alinhamento entre Brasília e Washington na política para o álcool combustível. O Brasil será um pilar central da tentativa estadunidense de depender (e fazer o mundo depender) menos do petróleo. Ou seja, depender menos do Oriente Médio, da Nigéria e da Venezuela.
Que anti-americanismo?Blog do Alon

There they are, in the open for all to see, the signals that Lula's second term foreign affairs management has suffered a fine tuning in relation to the first 4 years. Those who followed the assumption that there was an anti-Americanism (bigger than the Institution's normal level of it) were wrong. The contrary is happening — a strategic convergence with the US is on course. The first sign was the immediate adhesion of Brazil to the group of countries that sanctioned Iran for confronting the UN arbitration over its nuclear program. Now comes the alignment between Brasilia and Washington on biofuels. Brazil will be a central pillar in the US intention of decreasing the dependency on oil. Or should we say, less dependency on the Middle East, Niger and Venezuela.
What anti-Americanism?Blog do Alon

Depois de dois anos criticando o anti-americanismo da política externa brasileira, agora o jogo virou: serão mais dois anos criticando o americanismo da política externa do Lula. E ele que não ouse a neutralidade, senão serão dois anos criticando a indefinição da política externa do Lula.
Se ficar, o bicho pega…Luis Nassif Online

After 2 years criticizing the anti-Americanism of Brazilian foreign affairs policies, now the game has changed: now we will see 2 years more of criticisms over the Americanism of Lula's foreign affairs policies. We should warn Lula about not trying for the neutrality on the issue, as it will be 2 years of criticisms on Lula's indecisiveness on foreign affairs.
If you stay, the monster catches you…Luis Nassif Online


As a final wrap-up
we bring attention to the practical decisions that will shape the outcome of the US-Brazil biofuel agreement. The stakes and interests embedded in a policy can be measured by who gets involved in the decisions.

George W. Bush vem fazer duas coisas na América Latina, as duas têm igual importância em sua política externa e uma não tem nada a ver com a outra. A primeira é assuntar o assunto etanol. A segunda é ver se consegue neutralizar a presença de Hugo Chávez na região. É papo de alto nível. Bush vem e fica pouco. Quem já veio e continuará vindo para reuniões muito mais discretas é outro Bush. O irmão, Jeb, que foi governador da Flórida. Etanol virou assunto de família. Prioridade.
Yankees go home?no mínimo weblog

George W. Bush is coming to Latin America for two reasons, both have equal importance in his foreign affairs policies and one has nothing to do with the other. The first is the need to talk about ethanol. The second is to try to neutralize Hugo Chavez's presence in the region. It is a high level conversation. Bush will come but will leave fast. Someone who already came and will continue to come to much more reserved meetings is another Bush. The brother, Jeb, former Florida's governor. Ethanol has become family issue. Top priority.
Yankees go home?no mínimo weblog

Estão no Conselho, que visa a estimular a adoção dos combustíveis agrícolas, Luis Alberto Moreno, anglo-colombiano que foi eleito em 2006 presidente do Banco Interamericano de Desenvolvimento por pressão dos EUA; Roberto Rodrigues, ex-Ministro da Agricultura do primeiro mandato de Lula e figura proeminente na estratégia da Monsanto de introdução de commodities agrícolas transgênicas no Brasil; Donna Hrinak, ex-embaixadora dos EUA em Brasília, Jeb Bush, irmão do presidente estadunidense e ex-governador da Flórida; e Junichiro Koizumi, ex-primeiro Ministro do Japão. Pelo quilate dos apoiadores da disseminação do etanol, é possível imaginar o grau de envolvimento que eles têm com os governos de seus países.
A aliança Brasil-EuaOutra Globalização

The board formed to stimulate the adoption of biofuels is composed of: Luis Alberto Moreno, Anglo-Colombian who in 2006 was elected President of the Inter-American Development Bank due to pressure made by the US; Roberto Rodrigues, ex- Minister of Agriculture in Lula's first term and prominent figure in Monsanto's strategy of introducing transgenic agricultural commodities in Brazil; Donna Hrinak, ex-ambassador of the US in Brazil; Jeb Bush, the President's brother and former Florida's governor; and Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's ex-prime minister. By the gage of the supporters of ethanol's global expansion, it is possible to imagine the level of involvement they have with their respective governments.
The Brazil-Eua AllianceOutra Globalização

3 comments

  • Love and Hate relationship

    National Security Issue. Bush labeled his latin america tour as a National Security Issue. United States has so much to offer to the world: knowledge, entertainment, ect. BUT no, the folks come down south here for energy gossips. Bush correctly seeks energy for power. Power raises USA´s production . Production money raises US chances in the global competition game. Chinas running fast. Gotta ketchup using any means possible. Most brazilians are ok with US´s thirst for leadship, as long as it doesn’t involve our help. As brazil is an anti-war country, negociating ethanol with the US is like negociating with the MOB. We poor brazilians are comfortable with our third-world problems as long as were not involved with folks deliberating killing humans in other countries. We also feel uncomfortable knowing that fellow citizens are starving to death while our goverment is negociating brazilian land to make fuel to boost big cars..

  • […] In order to fulfill Global Voices’ mission regarding neglected media visibility of specific groups we will focus today on a Brazilian contingent which now complains of having had — along with local big media’s complicity — it’s own annual moment of expression and manifestation snatched by the recent visit of the US president to Brazil. George W. Bush’s choice of March 8 as the start of what became known as the ‘ethanol visit‘ to Brazil ended up scrambled with the time when Brazilian Women’s Movements expect to have their voices heard by the society as a whole. The target now is the media itself, the one which is now-a-days earning many different adjectives like ‘big’, ‘traditional’, ‘1.0′, etc., or the guys formerly known as ‘opinion builders’. Feminist organizations are starting a legal ‘right to respond’ campaign in order to guarantee prime time audiences to the broadcast of their vision of themselves. […]

  • É muito azar em pouco tempo para o povo brasileiro. Primeiro a visita do Busch e depois o Papa. Paz ao mundo!Por favor! “Neo – nazistas deichem o mundo em paz!”

    It is much bad luck in little time for the Brazilian people. First the visit of the Busch and later the Pope. Peace to the world! Please! “Neo – nazistas they deichem the world in peace”

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